Picture of How to Build the Ultimate Survival Shotgun
As a Survival and Preparedness instructor, I take my line of work very serious – sometimes too serious. Occasionally, though, I like to take on survival projects that are just down right fun. This article highlights one of those projects.

I’m fortunate in that I’ve been able to turn my passion into my profession – this being the study of Survival and Preparedness. I’ve always enjoyed building survival kits of all shapes and sizes. I enjoy the challenge of fitting life saving survival necessities into small compact containers. I’ve built survival kits using film canisters, candy tins, key-rings, boxes, bottles, tubes, bags and everything in between. For this project I decided to build a survival kit using a shotgun platform – creating the Ultimate Survival Shotgun. My challenge was that everything had to be included in or on the gun itself – no extra pack items or containers. Below is what I did as well as the survival logic behind each decision.

Ultimately your survival needs fall into 5 main categories. Your situation dictates the order. They are:
• Water
• Fire
• Shelter
• Signaling
• Food

Every survival kit must include contents that directly or indirectly meet these 5 basic survival needs. The shotgun platform I decided to use is the Mossberg 500 – PUMP. I chose a pump action because it is easier for me to troubleshoot and work on in the field compared to other models. I chose the Mossberg brand because it is a very popular gun and there are literally 100’s of aftermarket modification pieces and parts designed to fit this gun. I knew I would want to add on some of these ‘extras’ to increase ‘survival value’. In this step is a photo of the shotgun ‘off the shelf’ before my survival modifications.
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totszwai3 years ago
When you want to survive, grab a backpack and a sword... Can fit way more into a bag, and you will never run out of ammo. In case of zombie attack? You can cut their head off! :P

But nice video and DIY though, as another poster stated, only possible in US.
Using a gun is much easier then using a sword, there's a lot more to it then just swinging it around.
Wrong. Using any melee weapon is much easier than using a gun. You don't need to aim, run out of bullet, out of range, and misses. How hard is it to whack a melee weapon to a target?

Maybe is easy in the US, since you guys have firing range for cheap and every one in your neighborhood owns a gun, but not the whole world is like in the US you know? Is not easy to fire a gun without training.

I betcha you can run faster with a backpack + any melee weapon than someone with a 5 feet long gun.
Good luck hunting with a sword. By the time you whittle and rig a working bow (if ever) you will be too weak to use it. And that assumes you don't run into a guy with a gun who can shoot you from a nice comfy distance.
That also assumes you can get a real sword that will actually work not just a display item, this is also something most people don't realize.

Machette is sort of a sword. most common big knife in the world. no legal problems so long as you're not walking around town with it.

ahaha nice
paqrat totszwai3 years ago
I would agree that running out of ammunition could make the sword the better bet but out of range? I have yet to see a gun with less range than a sword and as to ease of use, if we're talking about the same range at which a sword is effective the gun is not that difficult to use. Point and shoot. And if one has reasonable depth perception one can shoot an opponent before they can get into effective sword range. If I was going to face something like an irate Grizzly Bear I'd much prefer something like the shotgun loaded with slugs. Maybe a ninja could survive such an encounter using only a sword but most folks aren't ninjas.

michonne could kill 10 bears at once with her katana.

The point of the gun is that you dont have to run. Can you out run a bullet? I am pretty sure I can put a deer slug in you before you can get close enough to hit me with a melee weapon.
He cant outrun a bullet... but he also can't acquire a firearm legally. No matter how persuasive you are... he still cant get a gun. If he can get his hands on some other martial weapon... wouldnt that be preferable to nothing?
just so you know.. its kinda hard to miss with a shotgun.. they kind of have a large shot pattern. but i do agree i would have a melee weapon as well as a gun.. but i would probably go with a axe instead of a sword due to the fact that it woould have more uses than just defense.
1. Use the bayonet as a melee weapon.

2. The shotgun itself is like a big metal club.

3. You can take the target down 100(s) of feet away from you as opposed to having it 3 feet away from you.

4. The guy without a backpack flopping around on his back can probably run faster.

I can understand not having access to proper training everywhere in the world, but from this guys standpoint, this is the ideal survival weapon.
Ryuk0 totszwai3 years ago
just to let you know not ever person in the U.S has a real gun but i agree swords are easier to use than guns
you kind of do need to aim, if you dont.... you'd miss and the zombie would eat your brains
a sword and shotgun would work better
or you can invest and make a swordgun XD
you could get a mossberg 590 and affix an m9 bayonet to the end...sword, gun, knife, fence cutter, etc...
maybe booth a sword and swordgun
Gunblade from Final Fantasy!!!!
Kevin Lincoln2 months ago
wow can u do this with other guns
uasmmx3 months ago

Is great see many good ideas together in a single weapon, I want to build one but instead a shotgun (for not breaking the law) I'll use a crossbow, the arrows can be reused several times, even with diferent types of arrowheads.

Yea and how accurate is that compass. I applaud you creativeness but u have alot to learn
dad_a_monk5 months ago

Awesome. I did a similar project a few years ago with an 870, buy I like where you took this better. The ONLY thing I would change would be to add a separate compass. That compass on the switch of your flashlight can not be counted on since it has a big hunk of metal below it and worse the negative end of a battery beneath it, in the flashlight, making the compass completely unreliable. If it's removable that would work.

Any time you use a compass, you should have any large source of metal as far away as possible. That's why when I taught survival and land nav, you always sling or hold your weapon opposite of the hand you are taking an azimuth reading with. A weapon like a shotgun or rifle within a foot of a compass will pull the azimuth off by up to 15 degrees which can put you miles off your intended rally point

I don't think you can stab with the bayonet
vladivastok6 months ago


Since this appears to be a kit for surviving the collapse of civilization as we know it, I think I would have a holster with a long barreled pistol capable of firing 22LR rounds hanging next to it. In the hands of a decent shot, they are deadly effective, they don't make a lot of noise to attract unwanted attention, and you can carry a whole lot of ammo for it. It wouldn't hurt to have a skeletonized (lightweight) handaxe on the holster belt either. Grab the shotgun, slip the holster belt off and strap it on as you go. If you are this prepared, I am assuming you have a bugout destination in mind, where there will be additional supplies stashed?

Anyway, thought provoking instructable.

hdmca3 years ago
Very good tutorial. I think that survival is a very personal subject, that a lot of people are going to disagree on. I think that the author has spent a lot of time on his shotgun and on this tutorial. For that, thank you sir. Myself, I have a Remington 870 Express with a 18.5 inch barrel and collapsible stock. As for add-ons, the only ones are a good sling, on-board shell holder, flashlight and laser aiming device. The light and laser are controlled by pressure switches so they can be switched of and on quickly. The rest of my survival items are held in a bug-out bag and tatical vest. Not all situations are going to call for the same items. Being stuck/lost in the woods one just has to worry about getting to help alive. Should we ever find ourselves in a time of social/economical collapse, things will most different. God forbid something like that take place, survival will take on a different meaning. There will be haves and have-nots and I bet that the have-nots are going to outnumber the haves. When that happens, I will defend myself and my family. Just my opinion, though.

By the way, myself, I would lose the knife/bayonet thing. Don't see a point in it (no pun intended).

And for those planing to defend themselves with swords, that idea hasn't flown for a few hundred years.
rahlquist hdmca3 years ago
swords and other melee weapons work well in areas where firearm use or ownership is either banned or extremely restricted . If you find yourself in a country where carrying a gun has serious judicial penalties, then a fire arm may not be appropriate. Please see see the laws in larger U.S. cities, Brittan, Canada, Australia for the more kinder gun bans in the world.

Its spelt Britain

This option seems less useful for me personally. I'd rather keep my knife in my belt or boot. (Or as is usual, the pocket knife in my pocket.) I sometimes carry my machete in a back sheath when I'm doing ranch work or know I'm going to be hiking in heavy brush.
I have spare knives everywhere. I always have a folder or two on me. An extra on the SG would just be a bonus! About every pack, bag, case I own has folder of mediocre to good quality in it at least. A knife is just too central to have your only one break with or dropped in a crevasse or down a storm drain with no back up. A human without at least one sharp pointy thing and the ability to start a fire is just whining hairless ape in most survival situation.
"" A human without at least one sharp pointy thing and the ability to start a fire is just whining hairless ape in most survival situation.""

Now YOU sir - are an intelligent thinker also! LOL
(Just don't try to live in NY or NJ with those knives in your pocket or in your gear bags - the authorities around here tend to view anyone who carries a KNIFE!!! (OH MY!) as a de-facto criminal! Their attitude seems to be "Why would anyone carry a knife unless they were planning to cause trouble?" My answer has always been - "Why would anyone NOT carry at least one knife with them at all times?
Why would anyone want to live in NY? :-)
Well, Mein Herr (Panzer??) :-)P If you can get past the nitwit socialist mayor and the plethora of dingelberry Liberal sheep living there - You might consider that The Big Apple is the ONLY place in the world where you'll find: The NY Public Library, the MET, Broadway, Wall Street, The Gugenheim, The AMNH, South Street Seaport, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, ChiTown, Little Italy, Central park, SOHO, Trinity Church, Teddy Roosevelt's birth home,(and his summer place on the Island), Shea Stadium, Yankee stadium (in THAT order!) countless great places to eat, and all sorts of other cultural icons, then NY is a pretty darned good place. LOL!
i'd make such a bad comment, but nevermind, i'd offend many and show no respect for the good people... :-(

good shotgun! bad thing I live in a dummy country where firearms are almost banned (except in criminals hands) and we law abiding citizen have to pay lots $$$$ to have a low power weapons (yeah you can still have a 12, but it's a pain in the a*s, as a single shotshell costs about $ 4,00 (about 2,00 dollars) and limited to 200 a month. .22 lr is at about 20,00 dollars /50 rd, and can buy only 300 month...
skaar pudicobar2 years ago
i don't see how saying 'sheep are sheep, regardless of affiliation' could be bad... anyway, get some handload gear, save the shells, cast your own pellets from car batteries, tear apart some fireworks for powder if you're desperate. maybe toss a flare shell or two into the kit if you're intending to be 'rescued'.

What are you going to do for primers?

how much does enough primers for 1000 rounds cost, how much do they weigh? how much equipment does it take to make the glassware to purify chemicals to -make- new primers? maybe it'd be possible to modify a shotgun to operate by matchlight... a bit of smoldering twine laced through a drilled out area behind the breech, touched into the primer hole? perhaps a glow plug or repurposed toy sparking car flywheel?

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